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Thursday, April 13, 2006

Channeling water and California Natives

Pink Wildflower 2The Los Angeles Times has 2 striking pieces today on preserving the water that falls into your gardens and the native flowers that are currently bursting forth in the mountains.

I was just thinking about a way to make use of the sunniest part of my property, the driveway. It seems such a waste to not use this small expanse of concrete so I got to thinking that perhaps I could grow some low-lying herbs in the middle of the driveway which you would simply drive over when you came home each night. Of course, you could go all out, like the homeowner in this article.

The first piece is "Channeling the raindrops" by Emily Green, where she details a project changing her concrete driveway into a series of water collection basins.
"MY frontyard looked like a storybook American home a lavender-lined front walk, two oaks, grass paths, a driveway to the side but it was a textbook polluter. The gutter fed directly to the concrete driveway. This swept rain straight from the gutter, onto the driveway, into the street.

Rain, it turns out, is only pure until it hits the street. The minute it rolls off our properties, it becomes what engineers call storm water a toxic soup of water, pesticides, fertilizers, motor oil, cigarette butts, fast-food wrappers, batteries and dog droppings. During a rainy day, as much as 10 billion gallons of this urban concoction floods out of 65 outfalls into the Santa Monica and San Pedro bays, says Joyce Amaro from the City of Los Angeles Stormwater Program.It could not be a more complete perversion of the natural cycle, in which April showers feed lakes and springs, and are absorbed into the groundwater supply, or as the watery intelligentsia prefer, the aquifer."

The other article is "The wildflower bunch" by Hugo Martin. Here he details some of the great characters who find wildflowers, and their protection, an all consuming passion.
"The man striding purposefully up the trail above Agoura Hills could be Clint Eastwood, what with his sharp nose and squinting blue eyes. He even wields a sharp object menacingly as he scans the terrain.

But the lone figure in the wilderness is no high-plains drifter. He is amateur botanist David Ecklund, a 60-year-old Vietnam veteran, and his weapon of choice is a common garden hoe. The enemy: "invasive nonnative" plants that are crowding out native wildflowers"

Link: Previous mentions of wildflowers
Link: Wildflower photos in my AGN Flickr Set
Link: Books on California Wildflowers

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Monday, April 10, 2006

AnimalBytes: Reality In Blue - Solar Eclipse Turkey 2006

My good friend, Keri Dearborn, has started her very own blog about all things nature and natural. You may remember Keri from our birdwatching video posted a few months ago.

You can also see her work on the Friends of the Island Fox blog.

I expect great things from this blog and I have already added her RSS feed to my RSS Newsreader program.
Reality In Blue - Solar Eclipse Turkey 2006

March 29, 2006, a solar eclipse dazzled over Turkey. A dark orb hung in the sky haloed in glowing white wisps of solar corona. Crowds gazing up from the dark shadow of the moon found the sun blocked from view and cheered at the wondrous sight. For those who took a moment to glance at the surrounding ancient ruins and countryside, there was the realization that a total solar eclipse offers an alternative perception of the world. For as the moon blocks our vision of the sun, it also blocks direct light from our star and thereby introduces us to an image of our world we would not ordinarily see. [Continues]

(Via AnimalBytes.)

Link: Video - Sepulveda Wildlife Area Bird Walk
Link: Friends of the Island Fox

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